Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, Ygael Yadin chair in archaeology of Israel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
For thousands of years the image of King David has attracted the attention of millions of people. From an archaeological point of view, however, no clear finds from his period have been found in Jerusalem, or elsewhere in Judah. Thus, during the early 1980's, radical theories were developed (by so-called "Minimalists"), arguing that David, or his son, Solomon, are fictitious figures who never really existed.
Since 2007, this situation had been completely altered thanks to the excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, 20 miles southeast of Jerusalem, in the valley of Elah on the border between Judah and Philistia. Our expedition uncovered a heavily fortified city, with two gates, two gate piazzas, houses, a central "palace" at the highest point of the site and three shrines. This is the first time that archaeological finds support the biblical tradition concerning King David and his period.
Of special interest are the three shrines with rich cultic paraphernalia indicating how cult and politics were used to strengthen the new kingdom.
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